Daily Life in the United States, 1960-1990: Decades of Discord

By Myron A. Marty | Go to book overview

11
Securities Shaken

Changes in the economy occurring around 1970 were worrisome. Not that everything had gone wrong. Good things had happened and continued to happen. But even those who held no corporate stocks or bonds and cared nothing about Wall Street sensed uncertainties.

The Economic Picture

In the 1960s the gross national product had increased at an average rate exceeding 4 percent. By the end of the 1970s the increases had declined to 2.9 percent per year. Between 1970 and 1973 purchasing power, adjusted for inflation, grew by 7 percent. In the remainder of the 1970s there was no growth at all. The inflation rate by the end of the 1970s had risen to 12.5 percent. Americans had always prided themselves on having the highest standard of living in the industrialized world, but in the 1970s it dropped all the way from first to tenth. There were reasons to believe that in fighting the war in Vietnam, continuing the cold war, and waging war on poverty the United States had taken on too much.

The personal security of families and individuals depended mostly on good jobs with good wages. The unemployment rate in the civilian labor force in 1967 was 3.8 percent. After slight annual fluctuations it rose to 5.9 percent in 1971, declined slightly over the next two years, and shot up to 8.6 percent in 1975. The median family income in 1974 was $12,836, In constant dollars, that was below the level of the two previous years and barely above the level of 1970. In contrast, the median family income had increased by more than 15 percent between 1965 and 1970.

A mild recession in 1969 and 1970 did not hurt the majority of wage earners, but it deepened their worries. A variety of economic concerns,

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Daily Life in the United States, 1960-1990: Decades of Discord
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in the Greenwood Press "Daily Life through History" Series ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Notes xiii
  • Introduction xv
  • Introduction xix
  • Part I - Modern Times Flourish and Fade: 1960-1966 1
  • 1 - Family Life 3
  • 2 - Changing Population Patterns 11
  • 3 - Private and Public Lives 25
  • 4 - Consumers in the Material World 35
  • 5 - The Other America 43
  • 6 - Mind and Spirit 51
  • 7 - Technology in Daily Life 57
  • 8 - Cultural Transformations 65
  • Part II - Troubled Times: 1967-1974 77
  • 9 - Changing Families 79
  • 10 - Civil Rights and Group Identities 87
  • 11 - Securities Shaken 99
  • 12 - Cultural Reflections/Cultural Influences 115
  • 13 - Material Aspects of Life 127
  • 14 - Environmental and Consumer Protection 141
  • 15 - Technology's Small Steps and Giant Leaps 149
  • 16 - Hard Knocks for Schools 159
  • 17 - Spiritual Matters 169
  • 18 - Not Ready for New Times 175
  • Part III - Times of Adjustment, 1975-1980 179
  • 19 - Family Changes Continue 181
  • 20 - The Peoples of America 187
  • 21 - Security Concerns 195
  • 22 - Television, Movies, and More 205
  • 23 - Cares of Daily Life 215
  • 24 - Arenas of Discord 225
  • 25 - Pulling Together 239
  • Part IV - Crossing the Postmodern Divide: 1981-1990 245
  • 26 - Family Variations 247
  • 27 - People at the Margins 255
  • 28 - Security Concerns Continue 265
  • 29 - Diversions 277
  • 30 - Concerns of Daily Life 291
  • 31 - Technology 303
  • 32 - More Discord 309
  • 33 - Prospects 331
  • Selected Bibliography 337
  • Index 353
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